As you may now, Nathan Fillion was supposed to have a very minuscule role in this May's hit sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. But he was axed, left to die on the cutting room floor. All is not lost, though, as director James Gunn is sharing a look at exactly what this cameo would have consisted of. And it's all spoof posters.
Earlier in the month, Gunn confirmed that his friend Nathan Fillion had a small part to play in Guardians 2. Though his role would have not been an acting one. Instead, Fillion posed for a number of movie posters for a Simon Williams film festival happening at a theater that would have been seen during the Earth attack sequence played out by Ego the Living Planet.
The good news to come from this is that Simon WIlliams is now officially part of the Marvel cinematic canon. Williams is a two-bit actor who has found a modicum of fame on the silver screen, appearing in schlocky B-Movies. He's also the superhero known as Wonder Man, who, in the comics, eventually joined the Avengers and was a prominent member of the West Coast Avengers that emerged in the 80s. Says Gunn about the posters on Facebook.
"Here are ALL of the Nathan Fillion as Simon Williams/Wonder Man posters cut from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in one place. And STILL no one has gotten the primary reference for the Haxan 2 poster. I'll sign a Vol. 2 poster and send it to the first person who gets it below."
So, did someone figure out that Haxan reference? Sure enough. And some lucky fan is getting a signed poster. Gunn says this about the eventual Easter egg discovery.
"Amber Sanderson Stults, Close enough! You win. Haxan 2 is the fictional sequel to the fictional Rob Zombie remake of Haxan playing in the theater where Frank Darbo beats up the guy for butting in line in SUPER. A signed poster is coming your way. All you needed to do was google James Gunn Super Haxan and it comes right up! I tried to even give that hint!"
Among the other spoof posters on display is one for the Troma classic Toxic Avenger. In the Marvel universe, it's called Toxic Janitor: Bad News Jackpot. This is in reference to James Gunn's days working for Troma, where he helped create Tromeo and Juliette. The second poster is for a romantic comedy called Oh, Rebecca! which comes from the makers of Something's In The Air. Next is an Inception spoof called Dead Before Arrival, from the director of Haxan 2, which seems to be an ode to all Christopher Nolan movies. And we get that Haxan 2 poster James Gunn describes, which is about a Witch you'll wish you never met. The MCU isn't without its own Marvel movies playing at the local theater. Simon Williams heads up an adaptation of Arkon. 'Know him, fear him, desire him...' reads the tagline. It's clearly a Conan the Barbarian tip of the hat, though Arkon did have his own comic book series. Finally there is the Tony Stark biopic that we've already seen, which has Williams doing a mock-up of the Steve Jobs story with billionaire and Iron Man Tony Stark at the forefront. Gunn says this about cutting the cameo.
"As many of you know one of my best friends in the world is Nathan Fillion. Along with Michael Rooker and Gregg Henry he's been in every movie I've directed, even as a monstrous, perverted voice in Guardians of the Galaxy. I didn't have a good cameo for him in Vol. 2, and I wanted to bring him more fully into the MCU at some point, so I didn't want to make him Aakon Guard #2, narrowing his chance of a more substantial role in the future. I really do love the character of Simon Williams/Wonder Man in the comics, a sometimes douchey actor/superhero, and could see Nathan clearly in that role (not because he's a douchebag but because he's great at playing one). But, of course, in a movie set 99.9% in space I didn't really have a place for him. So in a small flash to earth I decided to put a theater playing a "Simon Williams Film Festival," with six Simon Williams movie posters outside. Obviously, from the posters, he's had a run of B movies. Most of them in themselves are Easter eggs of some sort or another. Unfortunately, the small section of the scene where they appeared slowed down the movie and I had to cut the Easter eggs from the film (along with storefronts named after comic book luminaries Starlin, Mantlos, Annett and others). Equally a bummer was that a lot of people took photos of these posters on the day so suddenly every fan site was reporting that Nathan was playing Wonder Man in he movie. He was even the third-billed actor on IMDB! So that's the full story. Nathan's only cameo in the movie ever were these posters. I'll post them all over the next few days. And, yes, I think we can consider them canon for the MCU, and I hold onto hope that Simon Williams will rise again!!"
Who knows where Wonder Man will make his real Marvel movie appearance. Stan Lee recently teased a 'crowd-pleasing' superhero for Avengers: Infinity War. It couldn't be Simon Williams, could it? No! They wouldn't...Would they? Who knows. However this eventually plays out, it's comforting to know that Nathan Fillion is part of the official Marvel cinematic canon in some way, shape or form. And yes, we know he played a big blue inmate in the first Guardians of the Galaxy, but that one-off appearance won't be making a comeback. We don't think.